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Movie Reviews

So I haven’t reviewed any of the Netflix movies I’ve received (or even mentioned them all that much) in quite some time. So, here’s some mini-reviews.

Rating System:
* – A worthless sack of excrement that wasted my time and, more importantly, your time for even having read how much I hated the movie.
** – Total dreck. Not worth the time or energy required to pursue watching it.
*** – Worthwhile. Won’t blow your mind, but won’t insult your intelligence either.
**** – Very good. Has its flaws, as any and almost every movie does, but it’s excellent and highly recommended.
***** – Highest possible recommendation.

The 40-Year-Old Virgin – Hey, if you say “fuck” and “pussy” enough times, it makes a movie funny and edgy, right? RIGHT? Wrong. So many of my friends recommended this film to me, saying how absolutely hilarious this was. I chuckled twice, which is why it gets two stars. The “know how I know you’re gay” jokes I might find amusing if I was 12-years-old, retarded, or both. And whoa, a stereotypical promiscuous black male character who views women as conquests and swears a lot, that’s funny! Well, not really. I had a good number of friends recommend this saying it was funny. I now know that those friends are the same people who think the comedians that get on (and win) “Last Comic Standing” are funny as well.
Rating: **

The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi (2003) – Takeshi “BEAT” Kitano wanted to make this more light-hearted than the old Zatoichi films (which I LOVE by the way), and used CGI for the blood specifically to prevent it from being too dark. If you’re not familiar with the old Zatoichi films, I think you’ll like it. If you’re like me and you’re familiar (and LOVE) the old Zatoichi film, do your damndest to look past the re-interpretation of the character and you’ll enjoy it.
Rating: ***

Everything is Illuminated – One of the few Elijah Wood performances where I could look past the fact that Elijah Wood still looks like he’s 12. The film could’ve easily become overly-sentimental and simplified, but director Liev Schrieber did a tremendous job showing restraint here.
Rating: ****

Munich – This film takes a lot of patience, but it pays off in the third act. It’s very well done, but I got the feeling that there were so many things that Spielberg wanted to say that it got a bit convoluted. Still, very well done, and in my opinion his best work since “Schindler’s List.” I know a lot of you who love “Saving Private Ryan” will flame me for that comment, but seriously…beyond the opening D-Day scene, it’s not exactly the most spectacular war movie ever made, and twenty minutes does not a great movie make.
Rating: ****

Paradise Now – A lot of people hate this movie because it humanizes potential terrorists, is anti-semitic, and legitimizes suicide bombers. Those people either have not seen this movie or are complete morons. Yes, they’re humanized, but that’s what happens when…you know, human beings do things.
Rating: ****

The Aristocrats – I know a lot of aspiring comics who loved this documentary. I know a lot of wannabe aspiring comics who loved this documentary. I am not either, and I…sort of liked it. The interviews are fascinating, but the filmmaking by Paul Provenza is so lazy it’s disgusting. He literally just interviewed comedians, and that was pretty much it. I mean, it’s hard to delve that far into a joke whose origins are completely unknown, but for fuck’s sake, put in a shot of a comedian telling the joke to a room full of other comedians. ANYTHING. Jesus Christ. Oh, and to those renting the DVD – do yourself a favor, go to “More From the Comics,” and check out Taylor Negron’s rant. It’s by far the most hilarious aspect of this film.
Rating: ***

Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children – The CGI animation is worlds better than that of “Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within.” Some of the action scenes were pretty exhilirating. However, having not played the original game for more than fifteen minutes in my entire life, I had no idea what the fuck was going on until about 3/4ths of the way through the movie. I won’t spoil it for you, but fuck that – Sephiroth shows up. But you already knew that, and if you didn’t, you’re dense. Go rent it.
Rating: ***

The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys – For whatever reason I went into this with higher expectations than I should have, and it might have hurt my viewing experience. Still an alright movie. I was originally going to give it four stars, but I deducted a star because….well, fuck Todd McFarlane. What an obnoxious, overrated, hackish prick.
Rating: ***

The Baxter – I really wanted to like this movie more, because I absolutely love most of the work Michael Showalter has done. However, though it lampoons romantic comedies pretty accurately, it’s still agonizingly predictable at times.
Rating: ***

And that’s that. More later…

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  1. July 8, 2006 at 6:16 am

    Have to disagree about the 40-Year-Old Virgin. i think you might not like it just because “everyone else” did. But its got some pretty funny stuff going on dude, you just have to let it be funny for ya. 🙂

    • Anonymous
      July 8, 2006 at 8:42 am

      I have to take offense to you insinuating I didn’t like it because everyone else did, especially since I’m not some 14-year-old poser with an indie band that goes mainstream. I’m disappointed that I was told it was funny by so many people (whose opinion I normally respect), and that just didn’t turn out to be the case. For me, it was a lot of recycled jokes from other sex comedies I’ve seen, and didn’t find any of it to be witty or clever. Call me old-fashioned, but I like comedies that have…you know…jokes, irony, subtlety, etcetera. Steve Carrell getting waxed and swearing didn’t fit into that category for me.

      I really did try to “let it” be funny; I can’t allow a movie to be funny or not – for me it either is or isn’t. I was bored to tears throughout the entire first act, found the supporting characters to be dull (the “pothead,” “angry black man,” and “guy who can’t get over a four-month relationship” archetypes to be especially trying) and came out with the feeling that this was a vehicle to get over Steve Carrell modeled after “American Pie” but set with older main characters. And for the faults that film had, the physical gags and sexual awkwardness came across a lot better than in “40-Year-Old Virgin.”

      Don’t get me wrong, it had promise, but it let go of what could’ve been some promising scenes. Expanding on the main character’s extended adolescence through his video games and collectibles beyond a couple scenes and them being in the background would’ve worked, but instead they opted for more jokes about the supporting characters calling each other gay and substituting jokes for “fuck” and “pussy on a pedestal.” I don’t know how well you know me now, but anyone that does know me knows full well that I have a good sense of humor. This movie, to me, for the most part simply did not. If there were more scenes like the ones where they all went speed-dating (one of the few scenes I thought was funny – especially when Paul Rudd’s character runs into his ex), I’d be inclined to agree with people who found this film to be funny. However, for me, that just simply wasn’t the case.

  2. July 8, 2006 at 2:16 pm

    are you trying to tell me that John Heffron (the first season of Last Comic Standing winner) isn’t funny?!? because I’ll have you know Kevin Marshall that I would very much like to sleep with Mr. Heffron, and that means he’s some sort of talented!

    • July 8, 2006 at 3:29 pm

      The winner of the first season of Last Comic Standing was Dat Phan. He was not funny.

      John Heffron won the second season. He’s a really nice guy, from all accounts. However, his material is very hacky (adolescence is an awkward stage and guys do dumb things in relationships!) and his delivery is lifted from Howie Mandel of all people. Sorry.

  3. July 8, 2006 at 2:36 pm

    I didn’t mean to cause offense. It was just, for me, as someone who HATED the American Pie movies and typical gross-out humor/sex comedies, I was highly surprised at how much that movie made me laugh out loud. I found that where the American Pie set did things just to be shocking (look at these kids being raunchy), I found setting the main character as a 40-Year-Old dork (because you know that guy if you’ve met him) to be kind of daring. Granted its a timely situational comedy–would not have worked 60 years ago as a comedy, and it may not be funny again in 10 more years. The “Sell You Stuff on eBay Store” and speed dating are proof enough for that. But I liked the idea of the kinda nice clueless virgin makes friends who want to get him laid–but he doesn’t just want to get laid thing, and it all ends happy with love and shit. Watching American Pie all I kept thinking over and ovr again was, “None of these jackasses deserve pussy EVER.”

    Then again, I’m a girl.

    Sorry you didn’t like it. Perhaps sorrier you like American Pie. 🙂

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